When outfitting a new network or upgrading existing infrastructure, savvy buyers know that they can save themselves or their companies a great deal of money by purchasing expensive equipment secondhand. Yet when consumers are presented with the opportunity to more significantly reduce cost by incorporating third party hardware in the configuration, they often find themselves perplexed. Despite the clear economic advantage of third party equipment- in many cases third party products are sold for more than 70% less than the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) or equivalent “approved” hardware and a fear prevails that such third party equipment is orphaned, unsupported or generally inferior to the manufacturer certified options, and might even void the warranty for the entire network.
To better understand the problem and to put it in its proper perspective it is necessary to explore the circumstances by which a part comes to be approved by the manufacturer and designated by Original Equipment Manufacturer or OEM service provider. As the name suggests, the part in question is either the only specifically constructed part or, much more commonly, one of a specific list of parts which have been selected by the manufacturer for inclusion in a more complex system. The name also implies that these parts are custom built for the given application or even produced as part of the manufacturing process, but in reality this is very rarely the case. Most, if not all, manufacturers of durable goods for the retail market simply do not have any need or desire to create dedicated facilities for the production of each and every component that they integrate into the finished products. They are only interested in ensuring a uniformity of quality and effectiveness in the goods they intend to send to market carrying their brand, and to this end they choose the components which serve these needs with a maximum of dependability and cost efficiency. In order to facilitate uniformity in production and consistency for repairs and maintenance, the manufacturer compiles a list designating the parts and the vendors upon whom they rely to supply them. These happy designates are the approved or OEM equipment.